by Harry Cloke

The summer transfer market, as usual, has thrown up some quite bizarre transfer rumours. It’s like the various publications involved with this kind of thing are working hard to out-do each other when it comes to creating the most outlandish, unlikely rumour possible. And we, the football-hungry public gleefully eat it up. Whilst I like to think I can separate a nonsense transfer rumour from a real one, it’s not always easy to make this distinction.

Why Liverpool can’t afford to let this 17-year-old prodigy slip through their grasp

Yet my first reaction to reading this story in the Daily Mail was one of doubt. It claims that Tottenham are considering launching a £7.5m bid for Liverpool prodigy Raheem Sterling. Could there be any truth to these claims?

At 17-years-old, Sterling is arguably the Reds most impressive young talent. Whilst other youngsters have made it through the system only to disappoint (Jay Spearing, anyone?) Raheem looks to be cut from a different cloth.

Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Sterling emigrated to England as a youngster. He was part of QPR’s youth set-up for seven years before getting snapped up by Liverpool back in 2010. He cost £600k, which is a fair amount for a play who was 15 at the time. Whilst bonuses and add-ons have no doubt bolstered the amount that Liverpool paid for him, it’s testament to the way he’s improved that he’s now sporting a £7.5m price-tag.

It’s also probably a sign that Brendan Rodgers need to keep hold of him. Beyond the likes of Raheem Sterling and Conor Coady, there are very few players who look like breaking into and impressing in the first team. It’s also worth remembering what kind of player Sterling is. He’s a dynamic, direct and effective footballer. He’s unpredictable and likes to force the play. Essentially, he’s Stewart Downing’s opposite.

It’s also probably a sign that Liverpool need to invest more in him. Not money. I’m sure he’s on a lucrative pay-package for a player of his age. What he needs is game time. He’s made only three first team appearances. This needs to increase. I’d love to see him feature in the Carling Cup and the early rounds of the FA Cup next season. A loan move may also be an option.

What I wouldn’t be able to countenance, is Liverpool letting go of a talent of this nature. I don’t know if there’s any truth to the Mail’s claims, but £7.5m is a tempting figure. Let’s hope that Brendan Rodgers doesn’t have his head turned.